I have a car in Norway!
There was mention in a couple of previous blog entries about how much I missed driving. Sure, there’s the option of public transport, but I’ve driven since I was 17 years old. For me, I fell in love with driving instantly, and it was hard to go without it.
Epiphanies occurred. Those quotes you see on social media like… “You never know how good you had it, until you’ve lost it”, finally made sense. They probably didn’t refer to cars as such, but I still feel like it applies.
So a major milestone of Norway life was owning a car, and i’m happy to report it’s finally happened.
Without further ado, I’d like you to meet Eva, my 2007 1.9 TDI Golf
I’m in love.
So, I hear you ask, how did this romance happen? Well let me take you on an enchanting story. If you’re also looking for advice, check chapter 5. Also ensure you have at least a D-number, BankID and a bank account! Oh, and a driving license.
Chapter 1 – The search
Like most good romantic stories, it starts with a young guy browsing the internet at night. For the past three months, a lot of the time I spent on the internet has been dedicated to browsing Finn.no car section.
Now, cars are more expensive in Norway compared to the United Kingdom, but at this point this should come as no surprise, especially if you’ve read my other post about the cost of living in Norway.
In order to keep my options realistic, I set the following wish list.
- Car must be front wheel drive
- It must come with both winter and summer tyres
- Fuel type should be diesel – Be careful if you want to follow suit – cities like Oslo are now starting to crack down on diesel cars.
- Manual transmission
- Timing belt and water pump serviced.
- Must be 5-doors
- Have under 160,000km on the clock
Fortunately, Finn allows you to select most of these options in order to narrow down the search. After all this filtering, the most common cars that appeared were the following –
- Ford Focus
- VW Golf
- Volvo V50
- Audi A3
So what does a guy like me do when there’s a variety of cars to chose from? Unlike my previous dating experience, I cast a wide net.
Chapter 2 – Arranging the date
These dating analogies are getting harder to run with, but I’ll battle through.
Arranging a date (or “test-drive” if you want to be boring), is much the same as you would in any country I guess. I find it best to always ask a few more details about the car, especially if the advert is lacking some key information.
If the owner has listed their number on Finn, I find it best practice to send them a message via SMS, as you’re more likely to get a quicker response. No phone number means you’re stuck with messaging them on Finn. Don’t worry about approaching in English either!
After you’ve flirted back and forth about car talk for a while, you’ll probably be ready to arrange a meet. Oslo was unfortunately the location of the majority of the cars, so several test-drives were arranged simultaneously.
Chapter 3 – Date Night
I didn’t really dress up for the occasion. Wanted to keep it casual you see…
All of the owners for the cars I wanted to see were super nice, as they all agreed to meet me, not the other way around. I can’t thank them enough for this, as I had no fucking clue where I was.
Keeping it casual was important to me, but I imagine I came across the same way I always do when meeting new people, incredibly awkward. Anyway, I won’t bore you with the checklist I use when checking a used car, but you can find it here if you’re interested.
There are a few Norwegian things that might be not be mentioned however, so in addition to the above, its worth checking the following –
- EU Kontrol report – Ensure the owner has the paperwork for the EU Kontrol – Check to see if there were any errors highlighted on the car.
- Winter / Summer tires – If the car you’re looking at comes with both, ask the owner to bring along the tires of whatever set they’re not using at the moment. Be sure to check the condition of both.
- Check if årsavgiften has been paid – This is the yearly tax paid for cars, you can check before hand by clicking here! Type in the registration number, and if you see “Årsavgiften for 20XX er betalt.”, you’re good to go.
Chapter 4 – The Proposal
So, did the date go well? Hopefully there was no cat fishing involved….
I test drove five cars in total, and by the end I knew that Eva was the one for me. It was time to get down to the nitty gritty…proposing (or negotiating).
Bargain hunting is just as popular in Norway as it is anywhere else, so haggling is mandatory. Using nothing more than my British charms, I tried to get 20% off of the total price. It didn’t work, but the important thing was that I tried…right? Eventually when you get down to a price where both of you are happy, it’s time to make it official.
Chapter 5 – Making it official
I promise you, this bit of the section is actually really useful stuff, unlike the other sections.
After I verbally agreed on the purchase of the car, we both agreed to complete all the boring paperwork involved.
When buying a car in Norway, the first and most important part is signing a contract. If the owner does not want to do this, step away now. A free contract can be found here from NAF. Fill out all the details online and either sent it across to the other person by clicking the yellow button, or print it locally using the “Last ned PDF” button. Once both have signed, it’s on to the next step.
After that you can pay the owner for car. Bank transfer is typically the easiest method here, but cash will do. If you’ve got any phone with an internet connection, you can do the payment online with your bank. Cash would probably also be accepted, but it’s annoying.
Changing ownership is super simple in Norway. However it may come as a surprise that you must pay a fee when changing ownership, and it’s not cheap.
The owner of the car will login to Statens vegvesen and fill out the details of the transaction, and you will then receive a notification asking you to login, confirm that you will be the new owner and then pay the registration fee. If you’re still confused, you can read more about it here
Great. You officially own the car, but you can’t drive it on public roads as of yet. Insurance is the next thing you need to sort out. There are many insurance companies out there, and the best way to compare is via finansportalen.no. It’s like comparethemarket.co.uk for Norway, but without the Meerkats. Alternatively, you can always contact the bank, as they offer insurance too.
There’s several types of packages you can select, depending on the type of coverage you want. It’s always best to check out what each package covers and compare between other companies.
If you have a no claims bonus in your home country, you can often transfer that across by providing proof to the insurance company. Best to call them before hand before doing so, they will require proof.
So, you’re almost there, just a couple of things you need to check.
- Ensure you leave your headlights on at all times when driving. It’s a legal requirement here.
- Check that you have a high visibility vest and warning triangle in your car. Again a legal requirement
- Make sure you are driving away with the right tires for the season. More information can be found here http://www.vegvesen.no/en/vehicles/Seasonal/Tyres+and+snow+chains
Chapter 6 – Happy ever after (or until I can afford an upgrade)
So, like all good romantic novels, the story must end on a happy note. During the past three days of blissful ownership, I’ve been getting used to being a car owner again. The opportunity to explore more of this brilliant country at my own pace has always been a large factor in my desire to own a car. Apart from some shaky starts with the right of way rule, driving in Norway (during summer at least) is not too dissimilar to the UK.
Pathetic analogies aside, I hope some of the information here was useful. As always, contact me if you have any questions about buying a used car!